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For the past year or so I have really become enamored to the point of obsession in the work of Philip K. Dick. After spending the majority of 2014 burying myself into his more famous works such as Ubik, A Scanner Darkly and the Man in the High Castle. I found myself in a state of loss. Hearing neither good nor bad of his lesser known work. Nonetheless I dived into the most recent one with as much enthusiasm and vigor as the more reputable works.
Time out of Joint was published in 1959 during a phase where he was churning out books in quick succession. He had yet to hit the heights for which he would be known but was just a few years shy of the big hit The Man in the High Castle.
If you have read a handful of his novels you know what to expect. A very likeable protagonist that will be up against the World in an endless struggle to leave this World even slightly better than he or she entered it. Coupled with some mind bending and thought provoking and challenging theories about what is real as well some truly enlightening philosophical musings that would become a penchant PKD.
Time out of Joint turned out to be a truly delightful read. I was unsure as to what to expect, which I suppose is part of the fun. If anything this book at the time served as evidence that PKD was just coming into his pomp as a writer. It had all the trademarks that his best works have displayed. If any complaints could be made it would be that it tended to veer off the narrow path in the third act. It wasn’t as tightly orchestrated as others.
The story is about Ragle Gumm, a man that lives in your typical suburban America and enters the newspaper contest of Where the little green men are? He has quite the knack of guessing this. But a discovery forces him to question reality and those around him. Leading him on a route out of town. This endeavor only leads him to more questions. Eventually, with the help from his brother-in law makes a getaway. Only to find out that Ragle is being used by the military in a Civil War between Earth and Moon in order to guess when Missiles will be fired upon Earth.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It’s deserves the attention of any PKD fan. Maybe not an essential read of his, but if you’re eager to make your way through his catalogue, this should be one you pick up right after the obvious choices.